Designed To Fail – for a profit

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    • #433585
      David the Gnome
      • Total Posts: 3,230

      I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, as different things related to my health have taken a turn for the worse.  I have been a patient of many Doctors, therapists, psychiatrists and so on throughout the years.  Some might think that fortunate – hey, I had access to care, to multiple tests, diagnostics, to healthcare professionals.  Well, except for that ten year period in which I didn’t have health insurance – but that aside…

      I was thirteen, the first time my parents decided that I had more serious issues than a school guidance counselor or standard social worker could address.  They took me to a psychiatrist – who after a 45 minute meeting and asking me how I felt (I was thirteen, dude, it was a sea of raging fucking hormones) decided that I had post traumatic stress disorder, which caused related depression and anxiety issues.  I was thirteen when that psychiatrist prescribed a powerful mind altering drug (zoloft) to alter the serotonin levels in my brain to make me… less miserable.  A few years later I started having really bad panic attacks – and they prescribed another drug – lorazepam (generic for ativan) and so on and so forth.

      Now, nearly 25 years later… I look back.  I once saw three different psychiatrists in a one month period – each one gave me a different diagnosis with a different recommended medication.  I was in my early twenties then – and still thought that perhaps the system worked to some extent.  I had already been in crisis centers, hospitals, even a psych ward once.  Always the intent was to “manage” my symptoms.  To teach me new coping skills, to enable me to be somewhat less miserable than I was – stabilization.  I remember having to pay over 300 dollars once, for a 45 minute appointment with a psychiatrist who told me that my “views are delusional”.  Mostly, this was because I told him I didn’t think I could work because of the panic attacks I was having every day.  The idea that I couldn’t work – according to him – was delusional.  Not… in touch with reality.

      I was 30, maybe 31, when I developed back pain, possibly as a result of spending so many hours on my feet every day, working retail.  It was a year or two later when I was let go from my job because I couldn’t keep up with the physical work of a bar tender.  In the several years since, I have had many tests.  MRI, CT scan, X-rays, endoscopies, ultra sounds (for gall bladder) and so on and so forth.  Add in another medication to control my gerd (basically, chronic heart burn) symptoms.

      Each one of these tests… each one of these meetings during which I was diagnosed, properly or improperly, costed quite a bit of money.  Some times I had insurance to cover it, some times I didn’t.  What I have learned throughout that time is that not a single one of these many, many expensive tests or appointments was able to cure me, or even to manage the symptoms to an extent where I felt capable of coping with daily life like a… “normal” person.  For me, normal used to mean working 9-5, a rented home or apartment, car payment… maybe a family eventually.  Keeping up with my debt through the skin of my teeth – or not keeping up with it (my student loan debt went into default years ago).

      A month and a half ago or so, I was having bad stomach pain.  I have this every few months, usually intense for a few days – and then it passes.  Typically they tell me it is the result of digestive issues.  This time, they did a couple tests and told me my gall bladder has to come out.  Maybe it does – I’m not an expert.  Yet I’m not having pain right now, I’m not in any particular distress – there is no urgency.  So while I contemplate a second opinion… issues of mental health, finance, stress and so on are piling up.

      I have a therapist (social worker), a medication manager (psych nurse practitioner), a case manager – and a doctor that I really can’t see unless I make an appointment at least a couple months in advance.  It is what it is I guess.

      What I have come to learn though, is that for every additional test, experiment, new medication, treatment… or what have you… the price tag goes up.  The cost increases.  Yet the results, in general, do not.  The only exceptions to this have been twice in my life during which I needed life saving surgery – and even now I wonder if they helped me by accident.

      It is not that I hate doctors or medical professionals – I don’t.  I know plenty of them and know at least some of them to be decent people.  It is the system.  The system that, in fact, relies on us to keep hospitals to be kept at (depending on who you ask) 60-85% occupancy.  This requires people to get sick and to remain sick.  The treatments (keyword is treatments) require us to maintain appointments for years or even decades, to develop coping skills, get new medication, or perform a surgery that may or may not be necessary.

      While this is going on… Americans in general are more sick than ever.  Our healthcare costs are higher than ever – quite absurdly so, to the point where almost none of us can afford to pay for treatment out of pocket.  Medical debt remains the leading cause of bankruptcy.  Our levels of chronic illness continue to grow.  The number of shootings continues to rise (over 400, over the July 4th weekend).  Our public education system continues to fail, our infrastructure in general to degrade.  The difference in quality of life between the rich and the poor is… there just isn’t really a comparison.

      All of this and more – and yet… despite how obvious all of this is, despite how aware most of us are of it… it somehow does not change.  Those who profit from the system we have continue to profit at ever increasing rates.  The costs rise, while the ability of the average person to pay them does not.  This is true in nearly every aspect of American life – and it is especially true in regards to healthcare.

      Systems designed for profit are designed to fail the many but profit the few.  If profit is the end goal and the means to the end, then there is no principle that cannot be ignored, no rules that cannot be bent or broken, for its sake.

      Throughout my life, I have observed as things have become worse.  Throughout my life, I have attempted to make a difference where I could.

      Yet now, more than ever, the words on the lips of every therapist and doctor and well meaning friend are: “Ignore these things, you can do nothing about them.”  I have been called childish, naive, a starry eyed idealist – what have you.  Yet it seems to me that all of this “mindfulness meditation” and so on and so forth… are designed to teach us, not how to improve, but how to ignore our reality.  While we are told that most of the most common coping mechanisms are unhealthy, we are told that “letting go” of everything we find to have meaning… is the appropriate step to take, instead.  That it is best for us to take our medications, work our little jobs, live our little lives… without making waves.

      The intent, even of the practice of psychiatry in general… is not to cure patients.  It is to maintain a level of stability.  It is not long-term care, it is not healing.  To even talk about such cures, or being healed, is generally frowned upon, because nearly every mental disorder is considered to be incurable.  It is much the same with many chronic physical illnesses.  If the illness or issue never passes… we never stop seeing the various caregivers.  If we always require the medications we take, it guarantees a reliable profit.  See the issues with painkilling medications, or benzo-diazopines.  See any number of these things and look at their sales, their revenue, their profits.

      Then look at how, miraculously, it seems, in this enlightened era… everyone but the very rich has become poorer, overall.


      I can only believe, after all this time – that that is the intent.  We are not meant to get better.  We are meant to, at least, remain sick or unhealthy, we are expected, in general, to get worse.  We are maintained, at some level of functionality, in order to maintain the system as it is.  Yet it is breaking, bit by bit.  It may be that, in a universal sense, people are awakening to just how bad we’ve fucked ourselves, or allowed ourselves to be fucked.

      Sadly, it is too late to heal the disease of our institutions without them falling apart first.  Millions would fight for their denial.  Many would pay billions for that denial to be maintained.  The belief (or at least the well intended lie we try to tell ourselves) that things will get better on their own, that the system will change… that we can work from within it.

      That is simply not true.  Some times, in order to make things better, you have to break a lot of shit first.

    • #433595
      • Total Posts: 4,259

      I put alternative in quotes because it can mean anything from stuff proven to be harmful (laetrile) to stuff that’s ineffective to stuff that actually does have some benefit, but will never advance because there’s no money to be made with it in the current system.

      It’s hard to find stuff in the latter category.  You have to do your own research, do experiments on yourself with how-you-felt-earlier as your only control, and so any result has poor statistics (a sample of one) and is subjective.   But given the current system, it’s the only alternative you have.

      Have you looked into fermented foods as possible help for your gastrointestinal issues?  There is a lot of info, scholarly research papers on the web, and other websites and YouTube videos extolling the virtues of kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt, and how a healthy gut biome can improve your overall health.

      As I get older, I pay more attention to what I eat, and it is a balance between what’s fun to indulge on (hamburgers, pizza, chocolate ice cream) and what’s supposed to be better for my health (broccoli, omega-3 fish oils, and natto).   The way to get started paying attention is to keep a diary of what you ate and how it made you feel.  If you notice a pattern — the day after eating one of your favorite foods, you don’t feel so hot — it’s time to take the hint and demote that formerly favorite food.  Also, get some variety and see if there is a new food that makes you feel better after you eat it.  If you try one and find one, make it a new favorite.  I used to think that kefir was just high priced watery yogurt, but it does make me feel better, so now it is a regular part of my diet.

      Bottom line, try a new tack and see if you feel better on it.


      Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed.

    • #433623
      Utopian Leftist
      • Total Posts: 645

      This cuntry is sick, down to its soul. Sick people don’t have time to protest their conditions: they’re too busy trying to keep their heads above water. Our oligarchic uberlords are all too happy to pile on the misery. No bully stops bullying until they are stood up to. As Frederick Douglas commented, power does not give up its power without a fight. The media confuses, obfuscates and ultimately shames those who seek truth.

      Every case of depression is different. Depression is your own, personal hell, prescribed just for you and effecting you in a way that it could only effect you, personally; not anyone else. And I believe that there is a way out for everyone. My way out involved years of therapy and medication, electro-convulsive therapy, ongoing use of cannabis, meditation, Tantra, Astrology, Acupuncture, many friendships/shoulders to cry on, and too many supplements to mention (though I give a huge shout out to Turmeric {Curcumin} and to Tribulus Terrestris with Ashwogonda root in it). Sadly, what works for me may not work for you.

      In my opinion, the only surefire remedy for depression is this: the only way out is through. As Osho said, “What we resist persists.” Only when the roots of your depression are exposed, can they be plucked out. If you deny or ignore those roots, the disease is guaranteed to persist. When we recognize the root of our symptoms, we must acknowledge and “own” that part of us before it can be healed. It is ironic that healing usually comes with acceptance. Accepting your depression as part of who you are, frees you to be more than you were; to rise above, transcend and/or regenerate yourself.

      "All fascism is a result of a failure of the left to provide a viable alternative." ~ Trotsky
      “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Krishnamurti

    • #433644
      • Total Posts: 3,526


      Especially about that mindfulness crap.

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